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Advanced engineering materials

We are using our century’s worth of materials testing expertise and knowledge to drive innovation and productivity in UK industry

Delivering confidence in the performance of materials

We undertake cutting-edge measurement research to help industry grow, enhance competitiveness and increase productivity. Our research is aimed at developing new and improved, validated measurement and instrument technology which will improve the understanding and reliability of the measurement techniques used by industry and academia. These in turn help organisations to understand and use materials and processes to increase their output, reduce costs and waste.

We work closely with the instrument makers, instrument users and end users of the data to ensure that the research we carry out is relevant, useful and will provide the information end users require.

A lack of standards can be a barrier to the uptake of new materials and processes, so NPL is leading the development of best practice and standards across the world. The outcomes of our research, in the form of new and improved measurement methods, are made available to industry through commercial measurement services and consultancies.

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Advanced materials metrology strategy

Discover how we are identifying how critical drivers of change, including the energy and the digital transitions, require innovation in measurement capability and a new approach to delivering the UK materials metrology infrastructure.

Download the strategy

Our research

From increasing uptake in new technologies to improving confidence in material performance and lifetime, we help organisations to achieve more with what they have, and unlock new possibilities. We specialise in:

Microstructural characterisation

Our research supports users of microscopy techniques to get the best from their instruments, to understand the limitations and improve traceability of measurement

Mechanical testing

We are constantly developing test methods at all length scales, giving industry the confidence to design and use new materials in their products

Non-destructive testing

We are ensuring the safety and reliability of materials and structures, even in the most hazardous environments

Surface engineering and advanced coatings

We develop methods to characterise and understand the performance of engineered surfaces and coatings

Thermal performance

We are a leading NMI in thermal property measurements and develop instruments, test methods and guidance for working over extended ranges of temperature

Validation using finite element analysis

Using FEA to improve our understanding of materials and to develop new products

Our projects

Our projects aim to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced materials and processes. Combining greater understanding of performance with improved measurement techniques means that industry can have the confidence to employ new materials, and reap the benefits that they offer. Our projects are based on our research areas and cover EMPIR projects, joint collaborative research and contract research.

Our services

Our services can help customers to increase cost-effectiveness, productivity and 'right first time' processes. We ensure partners make better-informed materials selections, and increase the lifetime of products and infrastructure.

Case study

Spatially measuring the conductivity of hydrogen technology materials


Case study

Demonstrating a quality control method for liquid dispersions of 2D materials


Case study

Accelerating the production of composites to decarbonise aviation


Case study

Commercialising self-cleaning face masks to combat COVID-19 waste


Case study

Training in composite materials standards and certification


Our resources

Whether you’re looking for good practice guidance, more information on our research, or our latest publications, we have made a broad range of resources freely available. 


Mechanical Test Facility

Find out more about NPL’s Mechanical Test Facility for physical and virtual product assurance of advanced materials

Find out more

A new series of technical webinars

We provide technical webinars on advanced materials characterisation which you can watch from your desk.
Find out about upcoming webinars or view past webinars.

Advanced engineering materials webinars

Our team

Our people are leaders in their fields, take a look at our team of experts working in this area.
View our team